Articles of Faith: Nine

8 Apr

In my first post of this series I went over the origin and history of the Articles of Faith. I have also discussed Article of Faith 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Today I will discuss briefly the ninth of the Articles, as given below.

We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

In the last article Joseph Smith declared our belief in the written record of God’s word. I think it appropriate here to mention that he did not include the Doctrine and Covenants or the Pearl of Great Price in the Eighth Article. This is a point some non-members have brought up to me in the past. The reason is simple; his intent was to speak on the ancient records of God’s words. Some may question why the Book of Moses and the Book of Abraham were not included. Well, the Book of Moses was simply a retranslation of the Bible, and thus is included, while the Book of Abraham was not yet published or accepted as a standard scripture of the church.

However, all of these are included in the Ninth Article of Faith. This article is the declaration of our belief in continuing revelation. The Doctrine and Covenants is a collection of modern revelation and a number of the sections had not been revealed when Joseph Smith wrote this article. By declaring this belief he affirmed that more knowledge and more direction would be revealed and it would be just as true as anything revealed in the past, and thus allowed future presidents the ability to lead the church as is necessary.

However, there is a greater implication to this article. After the first century when the church started to fall into apostasy the leader chose to close the canon. They had no authority to do this, but they declared that God would never reveal anything else to man. In this way they set the early apostles apart as being on a level that no one else could ever attain. God no longer called men as prophets or apostles.

Joseph Smith, however, declared boldly that God was not yet finished, but would continue to reveal truth to his people. Joseph Smith could have done the same thing as those early, uninspired men. He could have declared that after him there would be no future revelation, and thus set himself apart as something that no one else could attain. But he did not do this. He left it open for those who came after to not only become as he had, but possibly to be greater. This shows a great humility in the man, as he had no desire to keep things for himself.

Because of this article we can accept the revelation to Joseph F. Smith concerning the world of Spirits; we can accept the Manifesto and the later lifting of the ban on the Priesthood. These things pose no problem for those who truly understand the gospel, because we believe that God has not finished revealing his will to man. Not only this, but we look forward to many more and great revelations that are yet to come. Joseph Smith gave us the record of the Nephites in the Book of Mormon, but we anticipate the sealed portion being brought forth. We also anticipate the bringing forth of the record of the lost tribes. These things are things we can look forward to, because we do not believe that God has shut the heavens and does not reveal his will anymore. We believe he has yet to reveal many great and important things pertaining to his kingdom.

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